Talk about my generations

Samuel Walker

Talk about my generations. This is a photo of Samuel Walker and his grandson, Leslie H. Green. The baby Samuel is holding is Les’ first-born, who is me. Everyone in the family called Samuel Father, including me.

Samuel was born in Virginia in 1873. I am not certain who his parents were. A hint from someone else’s tree on Ancestry suggests that his father was Robert A. Walker, born 28 April 1817 in Brookneal, Campbell County, VA, and died in 1889 in Pittsylvania County, VA. Or maybe he was the son of Richard Walker of Virginia.

Likewise, another hint suggests his mother may have been Julia Cousins, a black woman born c. 1835. She had seven children aged 25 to six, all but Sam with the surname Cousins. This likewise requires more investigation. There was also a Julia Walker associated with Sam Walker.

What is clear is that Samuel married Mary Eugenia Patterson in Pennsylvania in 1899. The couple lived with one of her sisters in 1900.

Samuel and Mary Eugenia had at least nine children. Loren, b. 1906, and Mildred, b. 1919, died in infancy.

The family moved to Binghamton by 1920. The 1930 Census listed Samuel, a janitor; Mary Eugenia; Agatha H.,  my grandmother, b. 1902; S. Earl (1904-1961), Stanley E, b. 1910; Vera, b. 1912; Melissa C (1914–1955);  Jessie Garnett, b. 1916; Morris S, b. 1918. And Wesley (b. 1926).

Mary Eugenia died in 1944, so I don’t recall her.

Agatha’s siblings

I remember all of Grandma Green’s siblings who reached adulthood except Melissa. All of them in their 40s and 50s were terrified of this little old man in his 80s. But Wesley, who was really Leslie – the Census taker must have gotten it wrong – was actually Samuel and Mary Eugenia’s grandson, fathered by Raymond Cone. Maybe there was a bit of prevarication there. Les was NOT afraid of his grandfather, at least when I saw them together. 

While McKinley Green married Agatha in 1931, they were apart as much as they were together before my father’s 18th birthday in 1944, even though Mac adopted my dad and officially took his last name before then.

So, Samuel/Father was very much a father to my dad, probably more of a benevolent one than he was to his own children.  Samuel Walker died in June 1963, less than a year before my grandma Green passed away.

Green beer and other traditions

Long Black Veil

Even though I don’t drink green beer, or indeed ANY beer, I find it necessary to note St. Patrick’s Day. As I’ve mentioned, I’m at least a quarter Irish. As Ancestry refines its processes, I become MORE Irish, 28%, in fact, as opposed to 19% Nigerian. 

This means, of course, that my mother’s father’s mother, Margaret Collins Williams (1865-1931), and her still unidentified parents, even if they were wholly Irish, are not my only ancestors from the Emerald Isle. I must have OTHER ancestors to find, including on my father’s side. Parent 1 is my mom, and Parent 2 is my dad. 

The Census Bureau is always useful in noting holidays, and this one is no exception. “Originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the 5th century, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a celebration of all things Irish.” 

Six years ago, I noted a group called The Burns Sisters out of Ithaca, NY. I was fascinated by them because their late father, John, was the mayor of Binghamton when I was growing up. He and his wife had twelve kids. Here are Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral and Prayer Of St. Francis.

Chieftains

I was very fond of the group The Chieftains. Kelly wrote about them a few times, including this farewell to Paddy Moloney. He links to other videos as well.

 But I decided to get really lazy and found something called Best of The Chieftains 2017, which has a YouTube chain of several videos. It includes most of the tracks from a 1995 album called Long Black Veil, which I love, and several from Irish Heartbeat, an album with Van Morrison that someone used to play in my office back in the day.  And there are a bunch of other songs. Did I mention that there were 250 videos?

Finally, I found this loud, raucous cut called Irish Blessing by a group called JOETOWN. 

Professional Irishman

Malachy McCourt, “who fled a melancholic childhood in Ireland for America, where he applied his blarney and brogue to become something of a professional Irishman as a thespian, a barkeep and a best-selling memoirist, died… in Manhattan. He was 92…

“In 1952, when he was 20, the Brooklyn-born Mr. McCourt reunited with New York.

“He embarked from Ireland with a ticket paid for with $200 in savings sent by his older brother, Frank McCourt, who had emigrated earlier and was working as a public school English teacher.” 

Playing cards as family currency

pinochle

One of the dynamics in the nuclear unit when I was growing up was playing cards as family currency. I learned canasta from my paternal grandmother, Agatha Walker Green before she died in 1964. Then, I taught it to my great-aunt, Deana Yates, before she died in 1966. She and I also played 500 rummy.

Shortly before Deana passed, my father taught me pinochle. A pinochle deck “consists of A (high), 10, K, Q, J, and 9 (low) in each of the four suits, with two of each card.” But one cannot play the game with two people.  You need at least three. This meant that my mother would play with my father and me.

This was cool because I enjoyed time with my parents without my sisters, who were not serious card players, while the three of us were. In describing this situation to a friend, they said they just liked to play for fun. I contended that playing seriously WAS the fun.

Interestingly, we played with a double pinochle deck with the 9s removed. We held 26 cards each, with two cards in the kitty. When I was 10, I could barely hold all of the cards, but I improved over time.

Whist

My grandfather, McKinley Green, and I played gin rummy. To this day, I remember that he said, “This hand is a foot,” when the cards didn’t come his way.  

My parents also played bid whist with family friends Jim and Betty at their house. I’d often go with my parents. My mom occasionally tired, and I’d be my dad’s partner.  Also, sometimes Jim would get angry when the game didn’t go his way, and his tantrums would upset my mother. This was understandable, though I found Jim’s antics more humorous than scary as his face reddened.

I don’t recall how often we played pinochle or whist. One of my sisters recalled my mother complaining to my dad about going out to play bid whist, “I like the game, but do we have to play every week?” While this was a bit of hyperbole, we did play a great deal until I graduated from high school. As I said, it was something I did with my parents that I did not have to share with my sisters.

My parents got married 74 years ago today. They were hitched until my dad died in August 2000.

Green, Leslie H., enlisted record

ARMY OF OCCUPATION MEDAL

lesgreen.wwii

ENLISTED RECORD AND REPORT OF SEPARATION

HONORABLE DISCHARGE

Last Name, First Name, Middle Initial: GREEN, LESLIE H. This was typed over and is difficult to read.

ARMY SERIAL NO. XX-XX-XXX

GRADE: CPL 1 JUN 46 [There was a story, either from him or someone else, that his promotion to corporal was revoked. That’s not what this document says.]

ARM OF SERVICE: MD. I do not know what this means.

COMPONENT: AUS [Army of the United States]

ORGANIZATION: EM 1 DET 1976 SCO [IDK what this means]

DATE OF SEPARATION: 28 DEC 46

PLACE OF SEPARATION: SEP CTR FORT DIX NJ

PERMANENT ADDRESS FOR MAILING PURPOSES: 10 TUDOR ST BINGHAMTON NY [the street address is typed over]

DATE OF BIRTH: 22 DEC 46 [This is, er, incorrect]

PLACE OF BIRTH: BINGHAMTON NY

ADDRESS FROM WHICH EMPLOYMENT WILL BE SOUGHT: SEE 9 (the Tutor St address)

COLOR OF EYES: BRN

COLOR OF HAIR: BLK

WEIGHT: 190 LBS.

NO. DEPENDS: 1 [If he’s not counting himself, I have no idea to whom this might be referring.]

RACE: NEGRO

MARITAL STATUS: SINGLE

U.S. CITIZEN: YES

CIVILIAN OCCUPATION AND NO.: STUDENT X-02

MILITARY HISTORY

DATE OF INDUCTION: 25 MAY 45

DATE OF ENLISTMENT: [blank, as it usually is when someone is drafted]

DATE OF ENTRY INTO SERVICE: 25 MAY 45

PLACE OF ENTRY INTO SERVICE: SYRACUSE NY [place of induction center]

SELECTIVE SERVICE  DATA: Registered – YES

LOCAL SS BOARD NO. 453

COUNTY AND STATE: BROOME NY

Home Address at time of entry into Service: SEE 9

Military Occupation and No. SURGICAL TECH 861

Performs a variety of nonprofessional surgical and medical duties in rendering surgical care and treatment to patients.

Prepares operating room and surgical equipment for use, cleaning and washing equipment, and sterilizing linen, equipment, and instruments. Assists operating personnel, preparing patient for operation, assisting in the administration of hypodermic injections and anesthetics, and handing instruments and materials to surgeon.

Assists in transporting patients to and from operating rooms, gives first aid treatment, changes dressings and bandages, treats minor injuries such as cuts, bruises, and boils, and performs other duties in the preoperative and postoperative care and treatment of surgical cases.

Military Qualifications and Date: M 1 RIFLE MKM [marksman]

Battles and Campaigns: NONE

Decorations and Citations: ARMY OF OCCUPATION MEDAL [awarded for military service of thirty or more consecutive days of duty in one of the occupied territories after World War II.; WORLD WAR II VICTORY MEDAL

Wounds Received in Action: NONE

Latest Immunization Dates: Smallpox OCT 46, Typhoid OCT 46, Tetanus  OCT 46, Other- none

Service Outside Continental U.S. and Return. Date of Departure [Date ship left loading port] 10 FEB 46. Destination: ETO [European Theater of Operations]. Arrive [Date ship arrived at port of destination] 19 FEB 46. Date of Departure: 22 OCT 46. Destination: USA. Arrive: 10 NOV 46

Total Length of Service, 0 Years, 10 Months, 6 Days for Continental Service. 0 Years, 9 Months, 10 Days for Foreign Service

Highest Grade Held: CPL

Prior Service: NONE

Reason and Authority For Separation: AR 615 – 365 RR 1-1 [Demobilization, is the Army Regulation concerning Army forces reduction after the war.]

Service Schools Attended: NONE

Education (Years):  8 Grammar, 3 1/2 High School, 0 College

PAY DATA.

Longevity For Pay Purposes: 1 year, 7 months, 16 days

Mustering out Pay: $300

Soldiers Deposits: $100

Travel Pay: $12.65 [amount received to get home]

Total Amount, Name of Disbursing Officer: $271.65, JM BARRETTE, LT COL FD

Insurance Data: 130.12 [very difficult to read except for $6.40 monthly premium]

Right Thumb Print

Remarks Lapel Button Issued. 12 days lost under AM 107 (?), ASR Score 2, SEP 45. [ASR is the number of ‘points’ earned determined when a soldier is shipped home.]

Recommended for further military training. {But this never happened.]

I wanted to get more details about his actions in Europe. However, a fire at the National Archives in 1973 destroyed most of what I sought.

The fact that, when he died in 2000, he had kept a September 1946 Newsweek article that referred to an October 1946 Ebony article about black soldiers in Berlin suggests that he was stationed in that city for a time.

The only other document I could find was his draft card, issued on his 18th birthday. Oddly, the person listed who would always know his address was not his mother but an aunt, Mrs. Mary Smith, whom I do not know, though I suspect she is a relative in his stepfather McKinley’s family.

Less Green would have been 97 tomorrow.

DNA Day is April 25

Your DNA Guide

According to Your DNA Guide and other sources, today is DNA Day. Their resident storyteller developed a framework for writing about 300 words. I’ll have a go at it with a previously shared tale.

The beginning of your story: What was your DNA question, or what were things like before your DNA discovery?

My sisters and I have known since we were children that the man we knew as our paternal grandfather, McKinley Green, was not the biological father of our dad, Leslie H. Green (1926-2000). I don’t think my father knew we knew.

We learned this info from our mom, Trudy, and HER mother, Gertrude Williams. Grandma Williams referred to vague details about a minister in Pennsylvania.

The middle of your story: What happened, or what did you learn? What did you think or feel about it? Then what happened?  

In 2018, I took my first genealogy tests. When I looked at my DNA matches, I discovered ten people were second cousins. The Yates, Walker, and Williams folks I recognized.

But who were the other four people? Three of them had trees, and two common people were on each, Carl Lorenzo Cone (b. 1915) and Raymond Cornelius Cone (b. circa 1888). But who was Raymond, and how did he meet my future grandmother, Agatha Walker (1902-1964)?

I wrote about this on my blog. On December 26, 2019, my dear friend Melanie discovered an article from January 1927 in a newspaper in my hometown of Binghamton, NY. The Reverend Raymond Cone was acquitted of impregnating Agatha and being the father of Les!

And then…

The end of your story: Where do things stand now? Why does this story matter to you?

By 1918, Raymond Cone’s first wife and father had both died, and he had a certificate to be a preacher. I followed his trek that brought him to Binghamton in the fall of 1925, departing two years later.

I have learned more about him than people I’ve known in person. He died of an apparent heart attack at his church in New York City in December 1947 before he turned 60. My Grandma  Green also died of a heart attack at 62. That’s sobering medical news for me.

#mydnastory

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